Akai DR8 Hard Disk Recorder (part 9)
The legend on the fluorescent meter display is so hard to read. The eight meters corresponding to the eight tracks do not line up with the record ready buttons, so it is difficult to see without squinting which is which.
Suppose you have more than one disk, you record some audio one a disk with one of the higher SCSI addresses, you finish work and switch the machine off for the night. Early next morning, you switch on the machine in a bleary eyed state and select the drive you had recorded onto, hit play and nothing. The audio is still on the disk and there is a simple procedure to reload the directory from the disk into the DR8 but should you have to? Shouldn't the DR8 do this automatically when you select a disk?
It has been noticed by some that the size of some of the buttons doesn't always correspond to their relative importance. For instance, you will be using the Edit button a lot, yet it isn't made any more distinctive than a number of less significant functions. Although I think this is true, I don't think it will hinder anyone's operation of the DR8 once they are used to it.
If you are doing dialogue recording to picture, then you will probably only be recording on a single channel. In this situation you have a very good chance of being able to play back the other seven. Try this in stereo and you may be disappointed, even with the optional additional memory card. An optical disk is probably best thought of as a fairly quick and convenient backup medium rather than for primary recording. It might be better to think of the DR8 as 'optical ready' because a new generation of bigger and faster optical disks will be with us in the not too distant future which should approach hard disk performance reasonably closely. With the right hard disk, you can record and playback any number and any combination of channels, of course.
Without a doubt this is the noisiest piece of equipment that has ever entered my studio, excepting the loudspeakers of course! I suppose it depends on the hard disk drive you use, but the one in the review sample rattled nearly as much as a small child rummaging through my latin percussion collection. The low frequency vibration also penetrated the two layers each of chipboard, carpet and underlay on top of my floorboards into the bathroom below. Don't expect to use the DR8 in the same room as a microphone!